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J Neurooncol. 1995 Oct;26(1):25-34.

Internalization of microbubbles by tumor cells in vivo and in vitro.

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Dept. of Neurology, University of Connecticut Health Center, USA.


Lipid-coated microbubbles (LCM) administered intravenously (i.v.) to rats bearing brain tumor, specifically enhance tumor visualization by ultrasound [1]. In order to understand the basis for this observation, we have examined the interactions of LCM with glioblastoma (C6) and gliosarcoma (9L) tumor cells in vivo and in vitro. LCM and LCM labeled with the fluorescent lipophilic dye 3,3'-dioctadecyloxacarbocyanine perchlorate (diO) were administered to rats bearing brain tumor. LCM and diO-labeled LCM were found principally at the tumor site with no evidence of label in the surrounding normal brain tissue. Analysis of the tumor by confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that labeled LCM were inside the tumor cells. Similar analysis of LCM interactions with C6 and 9L cells in culture showed that LCM first adsorb at the surface of the cells, and with time became localized inside the cells. Binding and internalization proceeded faster at 37 degrees C than at room temperature (RT). Staining of live cells with N-(3-((2,4-dinitrophenyl)amino)propyl)-N-(3-aminopropyl) methylamine dihydrochloride (DAMP), a dye that recognizes acidic compartments, showed that the majority of internalized LCM was associated with compartments containing DAMP. If the same uptake mechanism were operative in vivo, it would indicate that a portion of LCM bypasses the reticuloendothelial system and become endocytosed directly by tumor cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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